Where Entrepreneurism Meets Sustainability
Posted on August 9, 2016 by Scot Allen
What are you passionate about? How can you use that passion to decrease the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere and fight global climate change? Who could your client be? These were the questions MPX10 students attempted to answer during their final two months of sophomore year. Their answers included starting a skateboard company, shaping hand planes and wooden surfboards, creating vegan cookbooks, and writing a novel in which the protagonist's fight is an allegory for the fight against climate change. Students presented their final products to the community in booths in the Watase courtyard.
Prepping for the event, Priscilla Lai ('18) was focused on getting the details right. "For our booth we will have our book out for people to see, our scientific articles, and our smoothies (along side them we will print out our recipes so people will know what's inside them). We will also print out how a vegan diet lowers CO2 emissions and have handouts on our table. We will also put out fresh fruits as decorations and serve watermelon. Lastly we will have a link to our smoothie book on lulu.com for those who want to order their own book online." Lai's thoughtful preparation for her booth paid off as many came to visit and taste-test her concoctions.
The connection between the ingredients of a smoothie and global climate change did not occur by accident. "We have been studying the effects of climate change historically and scientifically all year," explained Dr. Mark Hines, director of the MPX program and teacher of the MPX physics and math for 10th grade. "Students were challenged to create their own solution to the climate change problem and build it into a viable prototype. Their generation will be greatly effected by climate change so we figure they should be invited to be part of the solution."
In the months leading up to the project work MPX teachers arranged a series of guest speakers for the class to discuss different failures and learning points they experienced when implementing their own sustainability projects. Juliet Matsumura, Garden coordinator from Kaimuki Middle School, informed the students of the importance of iteration in the work process. She discussed all of the failures associated with her first garden where nothing grew. "It was in the second iteration that we all started having fun and saw the garden thrive, but that was only possible because of what we learned from our mistakes the first time," said Ms. Matsumura.
MPX students submitted three complete prototypes of their projects to panels of classmates for critique and feedback before the final marketplace exhibition.
Michael China ('18) explained the value of this feedback process to the development of the name of his wooden handplane company. "Some people were saying that we shouldn't have "M&M" for the title because customers will think of the candy. So now instead of "M&M Handplanes" we chose "Get Salty Handplanes."